Guantanamo prisoner’s uncle files complaint with French Government over torture

September 21, 2012

Image of detainees in Guantanamo bay

Guantanamo prisoner’s uncle files complaint with the French government over torture Mr Ahmed Hadjarab, a French citizen, filed a criminal complaint with the French government last week over his nephew Nabil’s continuing imprisonment and torture in Guantánamo Bay.

The complaint states that Nabil Hadjarab’s indefinite detention and ongoing torture violates articles of the French Criminal Code and the Geneva Convention.

In the complaint Mr Hadjarab also asks the investigating magistrate, Madame Zimmerman, to open an investigation into his nephew’s imprisonment and torture by the US authorities.

Nabil, a client of legal action charity, Reprieve, has been imprisoned by the US government in Guantánamo Bay since 2002. While imprisoned he was tortured. Nabil was short-shackled, subjected to temperature extremes, sleep-deprivation, beatings, abusive interrogations, and isolation. Nabil has never been charged or tried, was cleared for release in 2007, and was even told by his American interrogators that his identity had been confused with that of another man and that his detention was a mistake.

Despite all this he is still being held in Guantánamo.

Both Nabil’s grandfather and father were French war veterans, the former fighting in World War One and the latter for France in the French Algerian war. Nabil’s half-brother won a national medal of honour when he served in the French Army. Tragically, in 1994 when Nabil was just 15 years old, his father died of cancer. Ever since then his uncle Ahmed has regarded Nabil as his own son. Under the French Law de partie civile any interested party – in this case Mr Hadjarab – can register a complaint with the French government.

Mr Hadjarab is asking the French authorities to meet with him and discuss his nephew’s detention and torture, and future return to his home in France.

Reprieve’s Life After Guantanamo Project Co-ordinator, Polly Rossdale, said: “Nabil Hadjarab has now been held beyond the rule of law for more than ten years.  For almost half of this time he has been cleared for release.  It is difficult to overstate the devastating impact this had had on his loved ones at home in France.  Ahmed Hadjarab’s request offers the French government the opportunity to end this family’s suffering. It is now up to the French government to do what is right and energetically seek Nabil’s release.”


Notes to editors

1. For more information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve’s Press Office: / 0207 353 4640 or see Nabil’s page on the website.

2. Earlier this year French investigative judge, Sophie Clément made an unprecedented request to the US for access to Guantánamo Bay in order to investigate the torture of three French nationals who were held in the prison between 2004 and 2005. Judge Clément is still awaiting access.